US, 2001, 108 minutes, Colour.
Ryan Philippe, Rachel Leigh Cook, Claire Forlani, Tim Robbins, Richard Roundtree.
Directed by Peter Howitt.
An internet thriller. For those who love to sit at their computers, for those who love to create programs, for those who love to hack, for those whose faith in the future is computerised, this is your show!
The word 'geek' is used a lot to describe these computer introverts. But in Antitrust, they have to transcend their geekiness because the future of freedom (and the world) is at stake. Ryan Phillippe is Milo, a brilliant student, who shocks his more socialist-principled friends by accepting recruitment from Gary Winston (Tim Robbins), a millionaire former whizz-kid who is setting up a global satellite communications system. Milo is serious. Gary is a perpetually grinning big kid with a love for toys and playground decor (so, of course, what is lurking underneath these surfaces?). But, Milo's best friend is killed... Suspicions fester. His girlfriend and a girl at the centre (Claire Forlani and Rachel Leigh Cook) help Milo. For a geek, he begins to show extraordinary resourcefulness for cyber-espionage before the big showdown.
Maybe the technology and the computer world jargon may be a bit much for some audiences. This is definitely a thriller that speaks to 20 somethings. ‘It doesn’t exist if it’s not on the hard disk!’. But, as conspiracy thrillers go, this is entertaining.
1.The audience for this kind of computer-age film? Younger audiences? Audiences interested in social problems, corporate greed, networks? The exploitation of the Internet? Contemporary moral issues in the business world? The consequences?
2.The west coast settings, the industry, the students, working in garages, large corporation plants, the technology and equipment and its detail?
3.The plausibility of the plot, the scenario, as if Microsoft or Apple went bad? The allusions to Bill Gates? Issues of power, control, control over money, knowledge, the ability to achieve, wealth, greed, ruthless stealing of intellectual property?
4.The focus on Gary Winston, on TV, Tim Robbins’ surface charm, his status, his plan for the satellite, the deadline? His being behind in progress? His desperation to reach the deadline? Charging people for information and communication? The phone call to Milo while he was on television? His empire, his plant, the staff, loyalties, his goons, offices, the interviews, his changes of moods, his using young geeks? His encouragement, supervision, knowing everything – and being aware of the dangers? His lack of moral conscience?
5.Milo and his friends, their ideals, skills, Milo being head-hunted by Gary, Teddy Chin and his refusal, the friends and their belief that information was to be free for the world? Their plans? The young men setting up the company, Teddy Chin continuing his research? Milo and his being considered to be selling out? His own attitude, Alice and her urging him on? Travelling to the plant, meeting Gary, the welcome, his puzzle about Gary, the jobs he was given to do, his skill in completing them, continued puzzles, his phone call to his friends, trying to re-bond, the talk with Teddy? Alice at home? Lisa and her work at the plant? Trusting her? The introduction, given his office, the assistants (and their later seen to be the killers)?
6.The deaths, their effect, Teddy Chin and his breakthroughs? Milo puzzled? Gary and his using the same formula as Teddy? The slogans? Milo’s suspicions, searching the plant, the security guards, their suspicions? Asking Alice’s help?
7.The social evening, Gary and his wife, his overhearing the truth about Alice and her alias, his hacking into Gary’s computer to get the codes, Gary discovering him?
8.His reaction to Alice, trapping her? Her going to Gary and the plant? Lisa, the collaboration, getting in, hiding, the security guards, the tough stances?
9.The dissident security officer and his help, Milo’s friends, the studio? Alice changing and offering her support? Entering the codes to make the broadcast about Gary’s plans, Gary anticipating, counter-plans and codes? Their taking Milo?
10.The tracking of Milo, the goons, taking him to Gary, Lisa on Gary’s side, sharing his ruthlessness? The breakthrough – and the broadcast, on all channels, seen all over the world, the Times Square sequence?
11.The irony of the success, the broadcast, the information – free for people, people downloading it in their millions? Milo’s anger?
12.The background of Lyle Barton, the FBI, their wanting to track down Gary and arrest him? Milo’s resistance? Later going and offering his support? Gary arrested, seen going to prison? Hubris, lack of moral conscience, violence?
13.The issues of ownership in the global world, rights, people, privileges, profitability?